How To Check A Motorcycle Before Buying

Buying a used motorcycle is risky. If you miss any critical flaw during the inspection, you might end up going to a workshop or spare parts store, and repairs may require half the purchase price. With this article you will learn how to check all the documents and evaluate the condition of the bike, even with minimal technical experience.

Study what the motorcycle of interest looks like in stock condition of different years of manufacture. Pay attention to the shape of the turn signals, perform a motorcycle VIN search, check the headlights, mirrors, and the type and location of the stickers. On inspection, it will help identify parts that do not match the factory design – they may have been altered after an accident.

How To Check A Motorcycle Before Buying

To assess the condition of the engine by its sound, you will need to watch videos on YouTube and remember how a serviceable motor of a particular bike works. This is important because, for some engines, ringing is not an indication of malfunction. It is also advisable to read information about the motorcycle on the forums. There you can learn about the “sore spots” of the model – it will become clear where to look first.

What Should Be Evaluated When Checking A Motorcycle

First, Look At The Appearance And Evaluate The Condition Of The Engine And Frame. This Is Followed By:

  • A Check Of The Electrics, 
  • How The Gearbox Operates, 
  • Also Don’t Forget To Check The Suspension, Brakes, Rims, Tires, And Everything Else.

Below Is A Detailed Description Of The Main Criteria For A Motorcycle.


It is better to inspect the bike in daylight. You should be alerted by different shades of painted parts, different plastic fasteners, turn signals that do not correspond to the stock look, mirrors, stickers, and other elements.


The appearance of the engine. There should be no oil leaks or cracks. Traces of sealant under the valve cover and cylinder head indicate that the engine was opened before. This is also indicated by traces of peeled paint, jammed edges on bolts, and non-original fasteners. Cracks are unacceptable on rubber parts.


The frame should be free of cracks, uneven and bulky welds, extensive corrosion, and fresh paint. Particular attention should be paid to the engine mount, the area near the subframe, the fuel tank, and the base of the steering column.

How To Check A Motorcycle Before Buying


The front brake lever is normally pressed before dips and jerks. You also need to inspect the brake hoses for cracks, cuts, and smudges at the joints.


The first thing to do before buying a motorcycle is to check it by the VIN code for theft, an accident, and a ban on registration actions. Next, look at the documents – the seller must have a TCP. If everything is in order, you can proceed to inspect the bike itself – evaluate the appearance, condition of the engine, frame, electrics, suspension, brakes, tires and wheels, gas tank, wheel bearings, and chain. It is also worth considering buying a new motorcycle. Although used equipment is cheaper, it requires more investment – which means that later its purchase may turn out to be much less profitable.

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